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My character has a Charisma score of 9, meaning he has a -1 modifier in Charisma. My character is a warlock whose patron is the Raven Queen (from Unearthed Arcana: Warlock & Wizard).

One of the 1st-level features from his patron is Sentinel Raven, which grants him a raven spirit. Among other benefits, the raven (when perched on his shoulder) grants him a bonus to his passive Wisdom (Perception) score and Wisdom (Perception) checks equal to his Charisma modifier.

Does that mean that while his raven is on his shoulder (which is when the bonus becomes active), he will suffer a -1 to his passive Wisdom (Perception) score and his Perception checks?

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In this situation, you character should be able to choose whether to use this class feature or not, therefore retaining the ability to exclude this negative modifier. However, if you do (for some reason) decide to use this feature, you will incur the negative modifier.

I derive this conclusion from two points:

  1. In a roleplay sense, the character is able to make decisions and perceive things as an individual, regardless of class features, as the Sentinel Raven is not imposing this status on the character against their will.

  2. The quote from Unearthed Arcana: Warlock & Wizard reads

    While the raven is perched on your shoulder, you gain darkvision with a range of 30 feet and a bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) score and to Wisdom (Perception) checks. The bonus equals your Charisma modifier.

(Emphasis mine)

In the absence of specific ruling, I lean towards the terms "gain" and "bonus" to infer a positive implication, allowing you to pick the better of the two possibilities.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack exchange. If you haven't done so please take our tour. Also if possible please cite where you are getting this information from. \$\endgroup\$ – Maiko Chikyu Sep 9 '18 at 8:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaikoChikyu Thank you, I will update and edit the answer now. \$\endgroup\$ – ThousandEmu Sep 9 '18 at 8:45
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I'd rule that your bonus is minimum of 1, otherwise it's not a benefit, and the intent is that it be some kind of benefit. Having a raven helping you perceive things makes no sense if it causes a penalty. This isn't supported in RAW, but is about fairness to the player, which I feel is more important than strict rules adherence.

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